How to Sign Over Guardianship of a Child


Guardians care for a minor child or vulnerable adult and also make decisions about the education and medical care of their wards. Parents who will be unable to make decisions about their child's daily lives may need to sign over guardianship on a temporary or permanent basis. Guardianship must be granted by a judge in the county where the child resides. Decisions about who should be the guardian must be made by the parents or legal guardians of the minor.

  • Determine what type of guardianship you will sign over. Guardianship arrangements can be permanent or temporary. You must determine whether you will sign over guardianship for a limited or unlimited period.

  • Choose the guardian. Parents or legal guardians must agree on who the guardian will be. Keep in mind that the guardian is responsible for medical decisions, educational choices and daily activities of the child; therefore, the guardian should be a person who is capable of handling those matters.

  • File a petition for guardianship with the court, together with the filing fee. The petition should name the guardian and request that the court hand over guardianship to the individual. The petition is available in most states from the clerk of court.

  • Attend the court hearing. The court will schedule a hearing in which the matter will be discussed. In some states, prior to the hearing, the court will send a worker to verify the ability of the proposed guardian to properly act in the minor child's interest.

  • Await the decision of the court. The judge will issue a written order giving guardianship to the individual named in the petition.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are concerned that the terms of the guardianship could be misconstrued, you can write a letter explaining how the guardianship should work. Leave this letter with an attorney and attach it to the petition for guardianship.
  • It is sometimes wise to limit the guardian's ability to handle the assets of a child. In such a case, you can also have the court appoint a conservator. The conservator will manage the assets of the child and make all financial decisions independently of the guardian.


  • Photo Credit John Howard/Lifesize/Getty Images
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